Mataora returns to Parliament

By Taroi Black

If the Māori Party returns to Parliament, its MP will bring back something not seen there for one hundred and fifty years - a man's moko.

The Waiariki seat could swing Rawiri Waititi's way given he’s in the lead by 415 votes ahead of Tamati Coffey (who will return to Parliament as a list MP even if he loses the electorate). They are waiting for the special votes to be counted, with the result to be announced on November 6. 

“I'm not really phased what people say about my tattooed face because it's a personal choice for me that derives from my people," Waititi says. 

The historic look was last seen in Parliament on one of the first elected Maori politicians, Tareha Te Moananui, in New Zealand. 

Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta brought the custom back four years ago, when she adopted the moko kauae, which is traditionally tattooed on a woman’s chin.

“If I get into Parliament, then I will ensure that I set a great example for our future generations and remind them to be proud of their Maori heritage,” Waititi says

Some 5% of the Maori Party is made up of members with moko while their candidate for Taitokerau, Mariameno Kapa-Kingi, will have her chin tattooed this week.